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Amsterdam is home to a series of familiar and unusual events ranging from Easter brunches, where both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are recognized, to Queen's Day.
Of these, Museum Night stands out as unique to the city due to the large number of museums here. On this special night on the first Saturday of November, from 7 pm to 2 am, approximately 40 museums open their doors to the public with themed events or performances. These could range from DJs setting the pace to jazz concerts or poetry readings. Some museums offer unusual interactive tours and workshops. Food and drinks that follow the museum's chosen theme are generally offered as well.
It's best to purchase tickets for Museum Night well in advance to get the cheaper rates and to avoid long queues. One ticket grants admission to all museums participating in the event. It also permits free transportation on trams and special boats that have been arranged for the occasion. As an extra touch, the ticket also entitles you to visit one of the participating museums again on a different day. This is valid until the end of the year. Programs are published as early as October. Look out for posters featuring "n8" for details on the events being hosted.
The summertime sees a large number of events in Amsterdam. Grachtenfestival is a nine day celebration with classical music performances on boats or in buildings overlooking one of the many canals. Over the years the number of performance venues and styles of music have increased, with everything from jazz to rock being played along the harbor or in the city center. Many of the performances are free including the popular Prinsengracht Concert for world famous classical musicians.
A similar event that also includes numerous free musical performances at various unusual locations in the city center is the Uitmarkt, which takes place on the last weekend of August. The difference is that Uitmarkt also features cultural and theatrical performances including dance, ballet, opera, monologues, and musicals.
Open Garden days allow the general public access to the private gardens of about 30 homes and institutions over the course of three days.
The Amsterdam Roots Festival in mid-June attracts performers from around the world to showcase their talents at many indoor venues such as Paradiso, Melkweg, and Concertgebouw. There is also an open-air free concert and dance performance hosted in Oosterpark on the first Sunday of that week.
Queen's Day, a national holiday celebrating the former Queen's birthday, is rather like the Mardi Gras of New Orleans. People hit the streets for an all day party that is themed around the color orange. Outdoor rummage sales are hugely popular during Queen's Day, and competition between sellers can bring out some interesting bargains.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Amsterdam accommodation and vacation accommodation worldwide.
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